The Oinkari Basque Dancers and Amuma Says No from Boise tour the Basque Country
The renowned Basque dance group from Boise, the Oinkari Basque Dancers have embarked upon a 10-day tour of the Basque Country, with the objective of showing the Basque Country to the youngest dancers, affording them the opportunity of coming into contact with local groups.
On this occasion, this seasoned group, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, is accompanied by the triki-pop group Amuma Says No, which also hails from Boise, Idaho. This is a marvellous opportunity to attend a performance entailing two cultural expressions of the highest order, emanating from the Basque diaspora, in this case North America.
The program for the ten days in question is as follows:
• 3rd of July - Galdakao, 21:00, Amuma Says No
• 4th of July - Mungia, 20:00, Oinkariak, accompanied by Andra Mari Dantza
• 5th of July - Pamplona, Oinkariak and Amuma Says No
• 6th of July - Guernica, Oinkariak
• 7th of July - San Fermines in Lesaka
• 8th of July - Vitoria-Gasteiz, 20:00, Plaza de España, Oinkariak and Amuma
• 9th of July - Hendaya, 18:00, Oinkariak and Amuma
• 10th of July - Añorgan, from 19:00 onwards, Oinkariak and Amuma
Following a year of performances to make enough money in order to travel to the Basque Country, this dream has become a reality. Whilst the group has obtained enough funds to cover the costs of the tour, the Basque Government, via the Directorate for Basque Citizens and Collectives Overseas, will contribute to the total cost, given that this tour will allow Basques residing in the Basque Country to acquire first-hand knowledge of these Basque cultural manifestations that originate thousand of kilometres away.
"Oinkari Basque Dancers": a little bit of history
50 years ago, several young Basque-Americans had the idea of founding a Basque dance group, travelling to the Basque Country in order to set this dream in motion. Here they met a Basque dance group from San Sebastian, with which they performed on innumerable occasions, forging a strong bond of friendship and collaboration. The American group took on the name of the group from San Sebastian: Oinkari Basque Dancers.
As soon as they returned to Boise, they initiated rehearsals, under the leadership of Albert Erquiaga and Diana Urresti and accompanied by the musicians Jim Jausoro and Domingo Ansotegi. Their first performance took place during the Sheepherders' Ball in 1960. In this manner they saw their dream of establishing a Basque dance group in Boise realised. From this point onwards, as a result of their great efforts, they became a cultural reference point, not only for the Basque community, but also for the State of Idaho as a whole. Now, several generations of traditional Basque dancers have formed a part of this group. Over the course of this period, they received visits from various Basque groups and the teachers have visited the Basque Country on several occasions, enabling them to boast a comprehensive and up-to-date repertoire. The group currently performs more than 40 dances from all Basque territories.
Last year, the group represented Basque Culture during the World Expo in Shanghai, to great success. Moreover, they were also invited to perform in the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
The dancers are accompanied by the following musicians: Anne Marie Mansisidor, Jake Murgoitio, Dan Ansotegui and Miren Aizpitarte on the accordion, Dan Ansotegui, tambourine, Miren Aizpitarte, on the albota [a type of horn], and Dan Ansotegui and Cathy Clarkson on the txistu [three-holed pipe].
Amuma Says No
The group Amuma Says No currently represents the heart and soul of Basque Music emanating from the diaspora. The group is capable of playing both music catering to dance or a selection of easy recognisable melodies pertaining to Basque music in recent years. Brimming with energy, the Basque-Americans, under the leadership of Jill Aldape, the "Basque diva" of the United States, dazzle audiences and cause hundreds of North Americans to dance in each of their performances, singing in Basque with an American accent.
All of the founders of the group, Jill Aldape, Dan Ansotegui, Sean Uranga Aucutt and Spencer Basterrechea Martin, are second and third-generation Basque-Americans. Former members of the Oinkari Basque Dancers, they grew up listening to and watching their parents and grandparents, Jimmy Jausoro y Domingo Ansotegui, play the accordion. Years later, they formed a part of the groups of the North American musicians Rod Wray and Micah Deffries, whereby Amuma Says No boasts rock, pop and jazz themes in its repertoire, passing from themes in Basque, such as "Maite zaitut" or "Aitormena", to songs by Led Zeppelin or other famous groups.
The dancers and musicians are accompanied by a group of stalwart fans who have also travelled from Boise, amongst who we find the "Amuma", Lydia Jausoro, a 91 year-old American woman who originally hails from Lekeitio. We will be afforded the opportunity of seeing her dance in the plazas of the Basque Country, proud of her culture, to the music of her favourite group, swaying her hips, whilst her granddaughter Jill does the same on the stage.